The Best Paris Cabarets
In the late 19th century, as Baron Haussmann dramatically reshaped the face of Paris, a new type of cabaret began appearing. A hybrid of café-concert, dance hall and theatre shows, this novel nightlife was centred in the Montmartre neighbourhood, and soon all of Paris was flocking there to enjoy the hedonistic fun. These cabarets drew many of the major artists of the era, from Aristide Bruand to Van Gogh, Verlaine, and Toulouse-Lautrec. The pioneer was the Moulin Rouge in Pigalle, which, from 1889, revolutionised the Paris scene with its fantastical dance reviews and famous French Cancan, followed by the Crazy Horse and the Paradis Latin, before, in 1946, opening the first transvestite cabaret in Paris, Madame Arthur. Today, the doyennes of the scene, these spaces are still renowned for their cabaret shows, which combine exceptional French cuisine and world-class performers. Here’s a round-up of the top Paris cabarets, for an evening of unequivocally French entertainment!
1. Féérie show at the Moulin Rouge: French Cancan and perfect evening in Paris
The Moulin Rouge, created by Joseph Oller in Pigalle in 1889, is still a star of the Paris cabaret circuit. It was here that Parisians gathered to wildly applaud La Goulue, the establishment’s most celebrated cancan dancer. Today, over one hundred years later, the ritual each evening is the same: as soon as the opening of Offenbach’s famous music sounds out, dancers in tricolour skirts burst onto the stage and throw themselves into the frenetic French cancan that brought the cabaret its fame.
Immortalised by Baz Luhrmann in his 2001 film “ Moulin Rouge; the cabaret and its current review “Féerie” Show remain an emblem of Montmartre. And its devilish rhythms and sumptuous dinners still have the power to plunge you back to the era of Belle Époque Paris.
2. L'Oiseau Paradis at the Paradis Latin: an unforgettable dinner-show
The stunning décor of the Paradis Latin, located a stone’s throw from Notre-Dame Cathedral, is almost as dazzling as what’s on stage. Today, this magnificent theatre, designed in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, stages a flamboyant, exciting show that combines breathtaking circus acts, modern ballet and the French Cancan.
The new revue, directed and choreographed by Kamel Ouali, is the ideal show for a festive evening with a gala dinner. “L’Oiseau Paradis” is a dynamic, poetic and sensual performance in which the breathtaking artists melt into the middle of fifteen exceptional sets. A great show for a memorable evening!
3. Totally Crazy show at the Crazy Horse Paris
At the Crazy Horse, opened in 1951 off the Champs-Élysées by Alain Bernardin, red is the defining motif: colouring the velvet-lined walls, the soles of the Crazy Girls’ iconic Christian Louboutin stilettos, and evoking the erotic elegance of its reviews. The perfect colour to anticipate Santa’s arrival and celebrate the festive season!
The distinctive Crazy Horse touch is the incredible play of light on the dancers’bodies. The cabaret’s most recent review, Totally Crazy, created by Philippe Decouflé, cheekily revisits some of the house’s legendary numbers.
4. Madame Arthur, un show endiablé
Opened in the heart of the Pigalle district in 1947, discover Madame Arthur, the first transvestite cabaret in Paris. To the sound of French music, the artists perform on stage in colourful costumes and a multitude of sequins. You’ll be in for a real treat!
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